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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

A juvenile offender impresses the reform school Governor with running abilities. He is in turn given special privileges to encourage him to win a race against the local public school, but he is therefore teased his fellow rebellious peers.

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(screenplay), (short story)
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
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...
Avis Bunnage ...
Mrs. Smith
...
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Joe Robinson ...
Roach
Dervis Ward ...
Detective
Topsy Jane ...
...
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Storyline

A rebellious youth, sentenced to a boy's reformatory for robbing a bakery, rises through the ranks of the institution through his prowess as a long distance runner. During his solitary runs, reveries of his life and times before his incarceration lead him to re-evaluate his privileged status as the Governor's prize runner. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sport

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Details

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Release Date:

8 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rebel with a Cause  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was heavily sampled in the Chumbawamba song "Alright Now", and text from the book upon which the film is based formed the cover of their single "Just Look at Me Now" (a monologue starts in plain grey typeface on the front and another appears on the back). See more »

Goofs

When the boys are doing gardening work one character calls another "you mug" (meaning gullible idiot). This is incorrectly recorded in the subtitles as "you muppet" but the word "muppet" - meaning an idiot - was not in use when the film was made. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Colin Smith: Running was always a big thing in our family, specially running away from the police. It's hard to understand. All I know is that you've got to run, running without knowing why, through fields and woods. And the winning post's no end, even though the barmy crowds might be cheering themselves daft. That's what the loneliness of a long distance runner feels like.
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Soundtracks

Under the Double Eagle
(uncredited)
Music by Josef Wagner
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User Reviews

 
Superb 60's drama. Every scene is Courtney's
22 September 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"Where the bloody hell have *you* been?" I'm sure this phrase appears in every black & white British 'kitchen sink' film of the time, usually asked by the exhausted mother or father of their wayward son. Colin Smith is a lad who is on the verge of becoming uncontrollable. Low-level crime and an aversion to authority make him every mother's nightmare. When his father dies and his mother takes up with a slimy fancy-man, Colin gets even worse and rebels. When he is convicted of burglary he is sent to Borstal and expected to bow down to the harsh routine, but his talent for running is spotted by the governor and he is encouraged to train for the inter-school Cup against the local 'posh' school. Will Colin do his duty? The film takes the unusual (for its time) structure of long flashbacks to Colin's home life while he is training. This is very effective and puts life into what could have been a rather dull film. There is one joyous scene in which Colin is first allowed out of the borstal gates to train - the sun is shining, we can almost smell the cool, fresh air and the soundtrack bursts into some glorious jazz trumpet. It's such an uplifting tune and so typical of its period that this film would be worth the price of the DVD just for this moment. Despite the depressing theme and grimy visuals, this film - made at the height of the 'gritty British drama' period of the 60's - is a delight.


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